The current equipment:
Currently, I have a Plex Server (PMS) set up on an old 2012 Macbook Pro (2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor). I recently upgraded its memory to 16 GB. Its only job right now is acting as a Plex server. We bought it used for $250 from a friend, and it has been slow as molasses since we got it for even the most basic computing needs. The RAM boost has helped, but running only Plex I will come into the office and find that it is using nearly all 16 GB of RAM with just Plex and 1 transcode. Seems…unusual.
I run a Twitter Movie Chat Group that watches movies together every week. As a form of mutual aid to not only those in this chat (57 people), but also to others I know (friends, family), I have given access to my Plex server to about 70 people. My media is at about 34 TB currently spread across a 14 TB external, a 12 TB external, and multiple 2 TB externals. At any time, there are about 6 people streaming from my Plex. There aren’t too many occurrences of transcoding going on, and if it is it’s usually just one. However, this computer has been crashing a lot lately, which has caused data loss on the externals and having to “repair” them multiple times by plugging them into an even older windows laptop (the mac says they cannot be repaired when I try with it).
I am currently in the process of planning to upgrade the server, but at a loss as to which would be the best to serve my needs. I have run a fundraiser to raise funds from all of the people that use my server to pay for its replacement, and we have raised $1500. That’s my total budget. I have someone donating 4 unused, unopened 8 TB Western Digital Red (not pro, not plus) NAS drives. So, if I go the NAS route, I will have to buy another drive to allow for all of my current media to be housed in addition to a little room for extra if needed. So whatever I get will have to either utilize my current externals, or will have to be likely a RAID 0 setup utilizing 5 drives or more. It will also have to allow for 6+ simultaneous HD streams. On-board GPU is probably also a necessity.
What I am considering:
1. Synology ds1520+ (Intel Celeron J4125 quad-core 2.0 GHz processor and 8 GB RAM which is a slower processor than the current Macbook Pro I’m using and less RAM, tiny little integrated GPU from what understand, ability to expand even more with Synology DX517, two M.2 2280 NVMe SSD slots, but no PCIe and no 10GBe port, only 1 GBe)
2. QNAP TS-653D (Intel Celeron J4125 quad-core 2.0 GHz processor and 8 GB RAM which is a slower processor than the current Macbook Pro I’m using and less RAM, 6 bays, no on-board GPU, 2.5 GBe ports, no M.2 2280 NVMe SSD slots, but PCIe for GPU or 10GBe – but not both!)
3. Mac Mini M1 with my current externals or a RAID 0 setup with an enclosure for the new WD drives being donated, but this would require the purchase of another drive AND the 5-bay enclosure (faster better processor than what I currently have, and configurable to the same amount of RAM, but possibly more than what I need and will wind up being more expensive)
What do you all think? Is there a solution I am missing that isn’t listed? A different server option I haven’t discovered? What do you think will best serve my needs?